Thailand - being greeted with a friendly yawning in Mae Hong Son
Normally, I would have been very happy to reach my destination 1 hour early - especially on these night busses. But this time, I had some mixed feelings about it. Instead of 6.30 am I arrived in Mae Hong Son by 5 am in a bus terminal far away from the center. It was dark, cold, foggy and I felt miserable.
The bus had been quite uncomfortable. I could hardly get some minutes of sleep that night. I quickly decided to go to the Panorama Hotel - the biggest of the cheapish hotels in MHS. The chances of getting a room were better at bigger places and may be, there was someone at the reception. I looked around and finally found someone who took me to town on the back of his motorcycle. Wow, that was a crazy feeling. I was nearly falling asleep on the back of the bike with my backpack on and the driver was driving like crazy - sometimes it is better not to think about what you are doing......
Anyway, I safely arrived at the hotel. There was some light in the lobby, the door was open - but no-one was at the desk. Well, at least I could enter the lobby I thought and stepped inside. I immediately heard some scratching and finally I lady appeared at the desk - I woke her up, she was sleeping behind the desk and greeted me with a friendly yawning. She had a room for 600 Baht. That was far too much for me, but I was so tired. I told her that the price was OK - but I did not want to pay for the early check-in. 600 Baht for 1 night - that was the deal. She had to call her boss and finally she agreed. I got the key and immediately fell asleep in my room.
3 hours later I woke up and started to discover the city. I visited a Wat, went through the market hall and had a tasty breakfast. I never remember the name of the dishes - but it was amazing. Further on I went to the tourist police to ask what I could safely visited in the surroundings. They tried to be helpful and friendly - but they sent me to the neighbouring scooter rental. Well, I first wanted to check my guidebook and went to a beautiful cafe for a much needed coffee. Then, I walked along the beautiful lake till I finally decided to rent a scooter for the afternoon. 12 km out of town there is a nice little Karen-village which I visited. The drive was really beautiful, the village itself with the long neck women was quite touristy. But I had a pleasant afternoon. I even passed an elefant on the road! On my way back to town I passed a lot of rivers and went to a little hill with a nice wat and a perfect view over MHS. I sat down enjoyed the sunshine and the great view. I spent quite some time on the night market later on and had a nice beer at a beautiful kind of a beer garden on the lake shore once back in town.
I was thinking of staying another day in this relaxing city. 55 km away there was an interesting hilltribe-willage. But driving alone with the scooter 110 km per day was not what I really wanted to and 2 more days would have been to long. I was running short of time. Therefore, I decided to take the only public bus to Soppong the next morning at 8.30 am. I will come back to Mae Hong Son, I liked it - may be next time I will have more luck with a trekking tour which I originally wanted to do, but which was fully booked.